Career Advice

9 Essential Easy Hacks to Sharpen Your Skills

Having one job during your lifetime and then retiring in comfort has become an outdated notion. Statistics show that three out of four employees in the U.S. don’t remain in their jobs for more than five years. And this trend is set to continue. The advancement of technology and AI and the increasingly longer lifespans of people are two of the many factors that are contributing to longer and more turbulent work lives. If you’re a millennial or Gen Z, chances are that you’ll have multiple jobs in your life, which means that you’ll need to sharpen your skills.

When you’re changing jobs, you want to ensure that it’s an improvement, since it makes no sense to job hop from one position that’s unstimulating or badly paid to a similarly unsuitable job. In order to apply for attractive positions, which may even involve a different industry at times, you need to hone the required skills. Here are a few essential hacks for sharpening the skills you need to apply for the jobs you really want.

1. Gauge Which Skills You Already Have

When people remain in unsuitable jobs or careers for prolonged periods, it’s often because they think they don’t have the necessary skills to work in another field. However, this is not necessarily true. The problem tends to be that people think about their jobs linearly, believing that if they start off in a certain field or industry, they have to stick to it. One of the main reasons for this type of thinking is that employers typically require that applicants show work experience in the position they’re applying for.

However, it’s completely possible to apply your current skills in another position or industry. Before you can consider transferring your skills, though, you need to gauge what they are. One way to find out is by using a platform such as SkillsMatch, which helps you to determine your current soft skills. The application also makes recommendations regarding online courses you can do to improve your skill set.

Related Article: How to Learn Skills Faster – 10 Tricks to Improve Quickly

2. Upskill in Clever Ways

You may be delaying the process of upskilling because you think it will involve long and complex courses. However, there are many nifty platforms available online, which allow you to develop skills in the areas that you need to work on before you can apply for that dream job.

An AI-driven company like Mursion, for instance, provides a mobile-friendly application that can help you improve your soft skills through 10-minute daily sessions. You develop specific skills, such as conflict resolution or teamwork, through simulations that reflect your chosen work environment. As such, the platform provides a low-stake environment where clients can practice essential skills.

3. Enroll for Short-Term Training Programs

If you’re currently battling to apply for a better job due to the fact that you don’t have a college degree, a great way of improving your technical skills is to enroll in a short-term training program. There are multiple companies that don’t only help people develop in-demand skills that they can use to find better-paying jobs, but also assist them in building a professional network.

Companies like Climb Hire, for example, reach out specifically to jobseekers who lack higher qualifications. Their curriculum offers a blend of technical and soft skills, and students also become part of a supportive community. Classes are at night, so you can continue in your current job until you’re qualified to make a move. According to their website, 80% of their students have been able to secure new roles within six months of completing their courses.

4. Find a Mentor

If you’re aiming, as an example, to change your career from working as an accountant to making a living from writing crime fiction, an effective step you can take is to find a mentor. Interacting with somebody who has already succeeded in your chosen field is a great way to learn. Apart from pointing out the various possible pitfalls of a profession, they can teach you valuable skills and can also tell you about informative books and courses you can access.

They may also be able to connect you to a network of people who can help you build your new career. One way to find a mentor is to visit their website and send them a message from there, or you can search for their contact details and email them. If they don’t reply, move on to the next possible mentor. You may just be surprised to learn how willing some successful people are to provide support for those who ask for it.

5. Follow Informative Blogs

You can gain a lot of insight into a profession and learn new skills through reading relevant blogs. There are blogs on just about every profession you can think of, whether it’s business analysis, fashion designing, or interior decorating. For instance, if you’re working towards becoming a project manager, there are many informative blogs you can follow to gain knowledge about the field, including blogs such as “The Lazy Project Manager” and “A Girl’s Guide To Project Management.”

To find a blog that works for you, do an online search and read through various blogs. When you find one you like, you can subscribe to the blog do that you’ll receive e-mail notifications when a new blog entry or article is added.

6. Build a Network

You can also sharpen your skills and learn valuable information by communicating with professionals and peers through social media. Seek out like-minded or professional contacts by searching for relevant keywords on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Initiate communication by commenting on their posts and following their profiles. Apart from learning by reading through various posts, you’ll build new relationships and quickly broaden your professional network.

Another way to gain valuable information and meet professionals is to attend seminars and workshops. You can find out about events in your area through your existing professional network or by searching online.

Related Article: Master These Communication Skills to Build Good Rapport Quickly

7. Offer Your Services for Free

One of the most effective ways to develop new skills is through practical on-the-job experience. If you have a family to look after and/or are already working full-time, this can be tricky. However, even just a few hours of practical experience a week can be extremely valuable.

If, for instance, your aim is to work as a restaurant manager, you can ask to shadow a restaurant manager at a local restaurant in your area on Friday and Saturday nights. While shadowing, you’ll learn many relevant skills, including how to treat patrons, effectively work with floor and kitchen staff, and manage cash-handling procedures.

8. Obtain Professional Certification

A great way to develop technical skills for a specific job is to obtain professional certification. There are professional certification courses available for most occupations. Whereas some certification courses come with entrance requirements, such as relevant qualifications or on-the-job experience, others are open to everyone.

For instance, aspiring I.T. networking or desktop technicians can enroll for a CompTIA A+ or Network+ qualification, which will provide them with the basic skills needed for the job. Employers in this field tend to consider and hire candidates who can show professional certification and a basic understanding of the most fundamental concepts of the job.

9. Listen To Podcasts

You can also sharpen your skills by listening to relevant podcasts. If, for instance, you want to learn how to communicate more effectively or manage a team, there are a wide range of podcasts on soft skills available to you. You can also choose from a wide variety of podcasts that focus on specific roles, such as IT, aviation, nursing, and much more. In addition, you can also listen to podcasts that deal with topics such as career development, career change, and job hunting.

As is the case with blogs, you can subscribe to your favorite podcast series to receive notifications when new episodes are released. Developing your skills through listening to podcasts is super practical and easy since you can learn while washing your dishes, cooking for the family, or driving to work.

Whether you’re aiming to get that promotion at work or thinking about changing your career, sharpening your skills doesn’t have to mean long hours and high costs. The internet offers a wide range of sources on just about any subject you can think of, of which many are affordable or even free. You can also learn a lot from reaching out to professionals and peers and building a network that will enrich and broaden your skills and knowledge.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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